Yellowstone Park at 150
On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed into law the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act establishing America’s first national park “ … for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”
This summer, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone, watching each year as millions explore this sacred land. Nearly 5 million visitors toured Yellowstone last year alone, breaking the 2016 record of 4.2 million. At Mountain Outlaw magazine, it got us thinking: How can we honor this wondrous place?
We decided to take you on a generational photography tour of Yellowstone, from when the park’s gates first opened to families in horse-drawn carriages to its formative years in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s when park rangers still patrolled on horseback. We end the journey with images from today’s Yellowstone, where a post-pandemic world seeks its fresh air and pure wildness in record numbers.
The following imagery captures a piece of Yellowstone, created “ … for the benefit and enjoyment of people.” This same inscription lives on the Roosevelt Arch at the North Entrance to the park in Gardiner, Montana. Yellowstone offers an opportunity for us all to connect with nature and be inspired to protect one of the world’s wildest places so that generations to come may still enjoy it.
– The Editors
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the tract of land in the Territories of Montana and Wyoming, lying near the headwaters of the Yellowstone River ... is hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United States, and dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people..."
- Yellowstone National Park Act, 1872
"The establishment of the National Park Service is justified by considerations of good administration, of the value of natural beauty as a National asset, and of the effectiveness of outdoor life and recreation in the production of good citizenship."
“Creating the national park System was one of the best ideas that the Federal Government ever had, and Montanans are fortunate to have a slice of the oldest park in our backyard. Yellowstone’s significance as an important area for the history and traditions of Tribal Nations throughout the West dates back far beyond its designation as a national park, and in the 150 years that followed ... It’s my honor in the Senate to help champion our national parks so that we can preserve them for generations to come.”
–U.S. Sen. Jon Tester
CALL TO ACTION
Yellowstone Forever, the official nonprofit partner of Yellowstone National Park, protects, preserves and enhances the park through education and philanthropy. YF hosts a number of Field Seminars, which run from May through October, and include opportunities to learn about wolves, bird migration, Mammoth Hot Springs, and nearly everything else park related, even bugs in the stream for you fly fishermen and women. Visit yellowstone.org for more information.